Manchester United club captain Nemanja Vidic could return from injury to face Sunderland on Saturday, possibly in place of the doubtful Jonny Evans.
The Serbian has not featured since undergoing a knee operation in September, shortly after his fifth and last appearance of the season during a 1-0 win over Galatasaray in the UEFA Champions League.
There were rumours that Vidic was ahead of schedule and would start last Sunday’s Manchester derby, whispers Sir Alex Ferguson quickly poured scorn on when quizzed on the topic prior to kick-off.
“No. definitely not,” the boss said. “To put him in at City for his first game back would be crazy but I think the Sunderland game definitely.”
Coincidently, Vidic’s return to the first team fold directly aligns with fitness doubts over defensive-deputy Evans, who was forced off with a hamstring injury at the Etihad Stadium and, as a result, is now unlikely to face the Black Cats on Saturday.
“Evans had a hamstring problem,” Sir Alex explained after the match. “He got it in the first half in a challenge from Balotelli but he played on while I had Chris Smalling warming up.
“It's okay if you get through the first half but if you try to start again in the second half after cooling down, it can be a problem. So I knew he'd have to come off.”